Thousands of voters in Pune — and also in Mumbai — had anger writ large on their faces on the polling day when they found their names missing from the electoral rolls. The district collectorate in Pune had been gheraoed by hundreds of residents who wanted to know why their name were deleted from the voter list, especially when they had voted in the previous elections.
Facing severe flak, and after a High Court ruling, the district administration is now undertaking a voter registration drive from Thursday. The district collectorate has roped in 15 zonal offices within the Pune Municipal Corporation limits as well as six zonal offices in Pimpri-Chinchwad Municipal Corporation limits besides the usual electoral registration offices and the voters’ help centres. The drive will continue for about three months ahead of the Assembly polls likely to be held in September-October.
With the Election Commission issuing strict guidelines after the “missing voters” fiasco in Pune and Mumbai, which had angry residents approaching the Bombay High Court, the district administration is making sure they leave “no loose ends” this time.
“We have had our first round of meetings with all 21 electoral registration officers and we will deploy all our staff for this drive,” District Collector Saurabh Rao said on Tuesday.
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The collector has urged all the voters to check their names in the electoral rolls. The voters can get their names as well as addresses corrected, if required, and submit their photos for the Elector’s Photo Identity Card (EPIC). “We are readying the forms for addition, deletion as well as change of address. We have already issued orders for printing over 5 lakh copies of Form 6, which is for addition, and nearly 2 lakh copies of forms for deletion. There will be adequate forms for change of name and address. This clean-up job will be done at the local level and we have requested the EC that a summary revision should also be done, which would enable the voters to know the status of their card,” he added.
The drive will be carried out till 10 days prior to the announcement of the Assembly polls. The administration is readying itself to have an updated voters list before the polls. Besides the regular drive, said officials, they had also requested the chief electoral officer’s office to have daylong drives on Saturdays and Sundays in June and July and special drives on June 15, 22 and 29.
“We are awaiting the EC clearance,” added the collector. He added that the registered names should reflect in the voter list within 30 days.
After the previous drive ended on March 16 before the Lok Sabha polls, there were nearly 12,500 forms that had been submitted but the names could not be updated in the final electoral roll. These would now be included in the list ahead of the Assembly polls, said Rao.
With residents complaining of the EC website crashing due to overload on the server, the district collector is also in talks with the state’s information and technology department to have a separate search facility for voters’ names on the district website too. The decision is yet to be taken, but the administration is all set to upload the names of the 66 lakh voters on its site by the end of this month.
“We are trying to put up the entire list in public domain and awaiting permission from the EC on the proposal,” said Rao.